The founder of Limitless Travel has called on the government to put people with physical and learning disabilities on the Covid-19 vaccine priority list.
Angus Drummond, chief executive of the tour operator which provides holidays for customers with disabilities, made the urgent plea on World International Disability Day, December 3.
The rollout of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is due to start in the UK next week, with care home residents and everyone aged 80 and over being prioritised first.
Drummond said he was ‘disheartened’ to see that there was no mention of those with disabilities being put specifically on the vaccine priority list despite the fact they were at ‘high-risk’.
He said: “The news of effective Covid-19 vaccine is something to be celebrated, but it is disheartening that, once again, those who have suffered the most during this pandemic are being left behind.
“The government must guarantee that adults with physical and learning disabilities are included within the ‘high risk’ category and will be prioritised for the Covid-19 vaccination.”
Research published by Public Health England last month indicated the mortality rate for those with a learning disability was up to six times higher during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic than the general population.
Drummond, who was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy at the age of 24, called for an explicit guarantee that this group would receive the vaccination as a priority.
He added: “For many people with physical and learning disabilities, lockdown has simply furthered their social isolation. Cut off from friends, family, and carers, the virus has had an enormously detrimental impact on their mental and physical wellbeing, and we need to recognise the sacrifices they have made.
“The British government should make an explicit guarantee that people with learning and physical disabilities will be prioritised for the COVID-19 vaccination as soon as it is made available.”
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